Tuesday, September 15, 2015

i lost my head in san francisco

san francisco, man. i spent 4 days in the golden gate city, and i'm still not sure what to make of it. my main association was always the anne hathaway classic the princess diaries, so i was shocked to realize there was no genovian consulate in the city. i kid, i kid. but it was certainly much different than the image i had built up in my mind. not bad, not good ... just different. isn't it funny how that happens? i managed to pack quite a bit into my whirlwind trip, and it was just the getaway i needed to recharge my batteries. let's get into it!


swan oyster depot

i made a beeline for this spot in a fit of hunger and frustration, after being told that my hotel room wasn't ready yet. it was first on my agenda anyways, as my favorite tv personality/DILF/life guru anthony bourdain had spread the word. thankfully, i didn't have to wait long since it was the middle of a weekday, and snagged a spot at the counter. the clientele in line was also entertaining:

(his shirt says "giving jesus more of me.") swans, oysters, and jesus fish.
i'm also happy that i did my research and asked for an off-menu item, the scallop sashimi, because i'm actually not a huge oyster fan. the selection on the platter varies by day, but i got lucky with smoked salmon, ahi tuna, and some other fish i can't remember at the moment. mercury poisoning never looked nor tasted so good, y'all. thanks, tony!

hops & hominy

sidled up to the bar here on my first night, and promptly made friends with this married couple who were celebrating their 9th anniversary. due to the husband, sam's, poor planning, they didn't have reservations at another restaurant until 10pm, so they were killing time here. a friend was chauffeuring them around, so they were knocking. them. back. no idea how much they had to drink, but i was impressed. we had a great chat as i sipped the glass of wine they bought me and ate my duck bolognese:

when i was telling my cousin the story the next night, she asked if they were trying to pick me up, and i was all "no waaaa-oh, maybe." but still. shoutout to sam and heather! here's to many more years together, you crazy kids.

ike's place

though i was a little bummed out that they've taken the "tim lincecum" sandwich off the menu, the "robin williams"(halal chicken, italian dressing, mushrooms, and pepper jack) more than made up for the indiscretion. i'd even go so far as to put it in my top 3 sandwiches of all time, behind the pan bagnat from pennypackers in somerville, mass. and the california chicken club at the lemon tree in vero beach, florida, which is forever my #1.

there's no place to sit at ike's, however, so i took my sandwich and strolled down to mission dolores park to enjoy it while some annoying pigeons stalked me.


umm, no? i actually went out of my way to make a stop here, as i've heard it touted as the best bakery in the country, blah blah blah. maybe i ordered the wrong thing, but i almost broke my damn tooth on my first of three macaroons, and threw the rest out. maybe i'll give it another go on my next visit.

bi-rite creamery

needing to cleanse my palate and heal my wounded incisors after the macaroon disaster, i sought refuge in the form of ice cream at bi-rite. one scoop of roasted banana, one scoop of malted vanilla, and i was good as new!

puccini and pinetti

two of my cousins live nearby, so i enjoyed a nice girls night with one of them, and my other cousin's wife. first, some rooftop dranks at the c-cake fac. and then, a delicious seafood dinner at the italian restaurant in my hotel. linguine and clams forever.

bartlett hall

since i had to get up pretty early for my flight on sunday, i had intended to just have a glass of wine and a quiet solo dinner at this gastropub around the corner from my hotel. of course, that meant hanging out with old married dads from the UK and australia for 3 hours as they doled out dating advice, showed me videos of girls twerking, and continuously expressed their disgust at my macaroni and cheese. "what is that?" they pointed. "that looks like a heart attack on a plate!" "THIS IS AMERICA ON A PLATE," i shot back, defensively, as an amused bartender looked on. "we have paaaaa-sta," one explained. "with tomahhhto sauce." many LOLs were had, and my favorite aussie, clyde, sent me on my way as i left: "tell your parents they did a great job." i'm totally the dad whisperer.


the cable cars

the cable cars are so uniquely san francisco, but also kind of weird and archaic. don't get me wrong, they were awesome, but i seriously doubt that any actual residents take them. got some great shots, though.

lombard street & macondray lane

these two were right up my, um, alley (see what i did there?). we've got lombard, "the crookedest street in the world:"

and macondray lane, which is just super whimsical and magical:


one of the coolest places i've ever had the pleasure of photographing. i was listening to this playlist while i strolled, and totally had one of those "movie moments" as i descended down the hill and into the heart of this 'hood while the neighbourhood's "R.I.P. 2 my youth" enveloped my ears. you know, where you're just kinda overwhelmed by the beauty of the world around you? legit, i teared up for a minute. cheesy but true. then i took these photos:

painted ladies

guys, can you believe the one thing i forgot to do in san francisco? yep, i forgot to see the friggin' full house house, which was basically my #1 goal. you see, i hopped off the hop-on-hop-off bus at alamo square to see the famous painted ladies they also show in the opening shot. i was going to walk over to the place where uncle jesse begged for mercy and uncle joey did bad bullwinkle impressions, since it's actually in a pretty random location. and then ... i just ... started thinking about lunch, and stupidly wandered away to ike's place, not realizing what happened until i was at dinner that night. stupid, stupid, stupid! at least i got to see the mrs. doubtfire house, so all was not lost. my stomach betrays me again.

haight ashbury

because i love hippies and longhairs, this was unsurprisingly my favorite neighborhood. it was everything i expected it to be: smoke shops, all tie-dyed everything, and old dudes in wheelchairs sitting on the street, yelling "drop acid, not bombs." hands down though, my favorite moment of the trip -- besides the night i bought myself a massive piece of bread pudding and ate it in a bathrobe in my hotel bed -- occurred when i passed by this adorable 20-something homeless vagabond. "you're really pretty," he said quietly, in the most sweet and sincere way. "thank you!" i replied. he then points at me and goes, "you're GROOOOOVY!" day = made.

golden gate bridge

i realized shortly after i booked this trip that a while back, i had made a "30 before 30" list. on that list was "stand on the golden gate bridge," and i honestly didn't think i'd accomplish it in time. but BOOM!   checked that one off real quick.

muir woods 

there were lots of super tall trees and i got in touch with nature 'n shit:

sonoma & napa wineries

i'll admit, i was most nervous about going on this day trip tour by myself. however, i made fast friends with a girl whose boyfriend was in SF for a conference, and she was on the tour alone as well. we kind of established a bad reputation at the first winery, as we completely lost track of time while "tasting" and doing shots of red wine from chocolate cups, and our bus driver actually had to go in and find us. thankfully, she diffused the situation by cheekily saying, "don't hate us 'cause we got more free samples than you!" as we boarded the bus and the old people glared at us. i immediately liked her even more.

basically, we just drank and drank and ate wine grapes and then bonded with two other girls on the trip and took a fun group selfie overlooking the GG bridge:


so glad i did this! even if you're not a history geek, the audio tour is fairly short, and the old prison cells and dining hall and escape stories are really, really cool. i also did a guided walking tour upon my arrival, but it didn't teach me anything that wasn't covered on the audio tour. so, if you go, i'd skip that ish.

while i can't say i'd ever consider living in san francisco, i appreciated the delicious cuisine, beautiful, colorful buildings, historic charm, and friendly residents. i also highly recommend solo travel. it might seem intimidating at first, but people are generally nice, and i never once felt lonely or isolated during my vacation. plus, there's no one to harsh your mellow or nix your dining choices, etc. don't be afraid to fly solo!


  1. Wow! You covered so much in a relatively short trip. I'm really impressed. Glad you had fun.

    1. thanks, girl! i did try to pack it all in, and i was definitely ready to head home by the time i flew out. :)

  2. Damn lady! So proud of you for traveling solo. It's something alot of women never do and it's so easy, you just got to have confidence. San Fran sounds pretty cool, Chinatown looks amazing! Major props for speaking with those Aussie dads. When I first moved to Austin back in the day, I went to a sushi bar alone and ended up talking with a traveling dad of 5 year old girl. I told him a father shapes the way a girl expects love from other men. If you love her and value her for who she is and not what she looks like, she will be that much better off.

    1. aw, thanks! i had a similar conversation with the aussie dad i met, haha. he also talked about how he tried to raise his 3 sons to be gentlemen. it was adorable.